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It's interesting because while our families were totally on board with our adoption plans, they were hesitant about an open adoption. Now that we have Jack in our lives and we have told them about Mama A, they have made a total 180! They get as excited as we do when we hear from Mama A and ask a ton of questions about her. It really is a beautiful thing.

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That is awesome that they made a 180 and are now fully interested! "It is a beautiful thing"!!!! :) (One of my best friend's says that expression that I put in quotes a LOT.)

So... here's a question.... in one of the classes I took for a requirement in WI, they said that we should keep information about the BP confidential because it really is our child's story to tell and they can tell it when they are old enough if they want to. How does this work with open adoption? Is it the same way or different since it's open? Hmmm.... just thinking about that and wondering what you guys think. Obviously, some details might be more personal and you might not want to tell extended family members about those details, right?

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Deb-

We started talking about Ty's adoption story at birth. It looked like reading adoption stories/books as an infant. It's talking "adoption" in everyday conversations like in DVD's that have adoption stories and there are plenty out there ie. Disney. Also, when we go see Ty's birth family we "talk" it up. Now, Ty may not understand "his" story or "adoption" for that matter but we've made it a "habit" and it "drips"....throughout daily routines....we don't say everything in one huge chunk because he is logical in his thinking now, but it's in our conversations now that he is 3 years old. Hope that helps some.

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That is awesome that they made a 180 and are now fully interested! "It is a beautiful thing"!!!! :) (One of my best friend's says that expression that I put in quotes a LOT.)

So... here's a question.... in one of the classes I took for a requirement in WI, they said that we should keep information about the BP confidential because it really is our child's story to tell and they can tell it when they are old enough if they want to. How does this work with open adoption? Is it the same way or different since it's open? Hmmm.... just thinking about that and wondering what you guys think. Obviously, some details might be more personal and you might not want to tell extended family members about those details, right?

We've been in both situations, having a closed adoption with our 2 1/2 y.o. son and an open adoption with our 7 mo. old daughter's birth parents. I think with an open adoption there may be more opportunities to talk about the birth family, because there is ongoing contact. For instance my family will ask how our daughter's birth family is doing, but they don't ask about our son's birth parents, because we've never met them or had any contact with them. However, the issue of confidentiality is important in both kinds of adoptions. As the class may have explained, it really boils down to the fact that this is your child's family and they belong to your child. As your child gets older, they'll share the facts they want to share and will become mature enough to tell you what information they feel comfortable with you sharing.

I think you have to be careful when talking about birth parents or birth families. I'm sorry to say that conversations about birth parents can turn uncomfortable quickly. One question leads to another and pretty soon you have to end the conversation. When I've told friends that each of our children's birth mothers are parenting other children, I've been met with questions about how many kids they have, how far apart they are, if their birth mothers use birth control, or if they're getting their tubes tied. My children don't understand much of what is said now but I'm bracing for when they're older. Can you imagine hearing that conversation when you're 9 years old? At time, it's just better not to start the conversation in the first place. Also, when you tell a story, you have no control over where or how it's repeated, and if the story gets back to your child, especially in a negative form (like teasing from another child), you're going to be sorry. If you're met with what you feel might be intrusive or innappropriate questions, tell them you'd be happy to answer questions about adoption but you don't feel comfortable talking about someone else's personal business.

If your child's birth parents or other family members ever meet your family members and/or friends, obviously that's a different circumstance. Hopefully this meeting would make the birth parents more "real" as individuals and lead to them being treated with the respect they deserve.

I hope I've helped answer your question :)

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Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I have heard a lot from our classes about how to keep the BP situation confidential and so it's been interesting to process the open adoption along with the confidential nature of the story that our child might not want out there for all to know. I especially appreciate the reminder that we should keep the conversation to the subject of adoption and not someone's personal business. That is very helpful. Although I know that my family might ask personal questions, I have to figure out a way to bring them back to the subject of adoption in a respectful way. It's something to think about and process. Thank you for your suggestions!

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Deb, perhaps you can think of it as keeping any situation that is not "your own" confidential...ie. if a friend or relative was ill, it may not be appropriate to share all the details of the illness to which you might be privy...or if close friends or relatives were going through a divorce, you would not want to share the details of what led to their divorce. Unfortunately with these days of all things being shared to the world via social media and TV reality shows, we have forgotten in our culture the value of keeping some things private so as to protect the dignity of others.

Maybe I am just showing my age by longing for the days gone by when everyone's personal dramas were not so played out for everyone to see...

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Oh, that is so true. Thanks for the reminder and the comparison. I am generally very good at keeping confidences so I don't imagine this will be an issue for me.

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We haven't had any outright opposition to adopting. My parents are very religious and think that adoption is wonderful, so when we told them, they were VERY happy for us. On the other hand, I had not been very open with my mother-in-law about our infertility issues because she has a big mouth and would tell everyone, which is exactly what happened, right around the time that we were starting with the adoption process. So when we finally told her we were adopting, she said "Good, now I have something to tell my friends!" Like our family situation was any of their business. She was oppositional in the sense that she and my father-in-law offered us money to pay for IVF but not for adoption. We never did IVF because the whole infertility process really messed with my body and I didn't want to go any further. But many friends said we should ask them for financial help with the adoption. I was very opposed to it because I felt that if they wanted to, they would have offered. It was Mark and my choice to chose adoption and we were going to make it work, no matter what. So I feel that although his family didn't show outright opposition, their offering for IVF and asking me whether or not I had gone to the doctor were passive aggressive ways to show that they wanted us to continue to try for biological children. Now they have come around and his mom is very anxious for us and really wants us to get a baby right away. I am the one that has to calm her down and tell her that its a process. My mother-in-law doesn't feel that you're a "real woman" unless you have children, so I guess she's eager for me to join the ranks! Ha!

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I predict your mother in law will do a 360 as soon as your baby is placed in your arms (at least I pray she does). All of this energy towards building your family to be replaced/recharged by a grandparents' unlimited love! Even some of the most stubborn can turn big corners. Another positive is how compassionate she will be towards the birthparent's of your child.

Hang in there...family we love can and do surprise us (sometimes).

Karen

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This topic is so interesting! Luckily our families experienced our infertility pains with us so they were all 100% on board with adoption. My husband comes from a bi-racial family so race was not an issue either. My mom is adopted however hers was a closed adoption and she never had a desire to know or find her biological parents. I think everyone's struggles were wrapping their heads around an open adoption. Adoption was "normal" to them however open adoption was forgein. I also admit that when we got to Abrazo I wasn't really sure what open really meant either. After being placed with Yorick and everyone seeing the relationship we have with S has really opened everyone's eyes, including ours, to what an open adoption truly is. Everyone, again including us, also sees firsthand the benefits of an open adoption.

Long ramble but basically just trying to say that people always fear what they don't know or have not experienced for themselves. It's normal human behavior to question the unknown! We were fully embraced by our families during our entire journey, infertility and adoption, and for that I'm so grateful. However it wasn't until we all had first hand knowledge and experience with it that we all truly got it!

They will come around!

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This topic is so interesting! Luckily our families experienced our infertility pains with us so they were all 100% on board with adoption. My husband comes from a bi-racial family so race was not an issue either. My mom is adopted however hers was a closed adoption and she never had a desire to know or find her biological parents. I think everyone's struggles were wrapping their heads around an open adoption. Adoption was "normal" to them however open adoption was forgein. I also admit that when we got to Abrazo I wasn't really sure what open really meant either. After being placed with Yorick and everyone seeing the relationship we have with S has really opened everyone's eyes, including ours, to what an open adoption truly is. Everyone, again including us, also sees firsthand the benefits of an open adoption.

Long ramble but basically just trying to say that people always fear what they don't know or have not experienced for themselves. It's normal human behavior to question the unknown! We were fully embraced by our families during our entire journey, infertility and adoption, and for that I'm so grateful. However it wasn't until we all had first hand knowledge and experience with it that we all truly got it!

They will come around!

Kelli - I'd be really interested in hearing if your mom has experienced a range of emotions about her own adoption after seeing the benefits of open adoption blossom with Yorick and his birth family. We were the same way... I don't think I really understood what open adoption was until we found Abrazo.

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We were also unsure of what open adoption meant. We have friends that adopted one child from Guatemala and their second child was born in Chicago and they maintain an open adoption. We always thought it was weird that they stayed in contact and that the adoptive mother was in the delivery room. But like most people we just were uneducated about it and were judging without knowing everything. That's why I think orientation is so great to go through because it opens your eyes and the books that Abrazo recommends help do that as well.

I'm also interested if your mom's views on everything having been adopted herself.

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She definitely loves the relationship we have with S. However, she still doesn't think knowing her birth parents would have had an impact on her life. She really has never been curious and it never bothered her-the not knowing. She totally gets the open adoption concept and is thrilled for Yori that he gets to know his first mom and hear first hand from her that she loves him. Who knows, maybe she will change her mind one day and want to meet her first parents.

I'm definitely going to look to her for guidance as Yori gets older on talking to him about being adopted. I love that for her and for us (my dad, myself and my brother) adoption was always just so normal.

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This thread was very beneficial. Justin and I did not find any opposition from our family. Both sides embraced our adoption from the moment they found out we couln't have kids naturally. On the other hand, some ladies at work have had a hard time wrapping their head around open adoption. Most of the ladies I work with are in their 50's-60's and one of them adopted (closed adoption). She has worked here a few years, so everyone knows about her adoption. Once I started talking about going to visit the couple we are matched with "the talking started". Many of them stop by from time to time to ask me questions. Hopefully, as the years go by, they will see the benefit of open adoption.

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This thread was very beneficial. Justin and I did not find any opposition from our family. Both sides embraced our adoption from the moment they found out we couln't have kids naturally. On the other hand, some ladies at work have had a hard time wrapping their head around open adoption. Most of the ladies I work with are in their 50's-60's and one of them adopted (closed adoption). She has worked here a few years, so everyone knows about her adoption. Once I started talking about going to visit the couple we are matched with "the talking started". Many of them stop by from time to time to ask me questions. Hopefully, as the years go by, they will see the benefit of open adoption.

I happened upon this thread this evening and found it interesting as well. I think it's wonderful that while the ladies you work with can't wrap their heads around open adoption, you're making an effort in including them in your journey. If they are open-minded, they may come away with very different views about adoption and how amazing the openness can be. We have a very open relationship with our first son's birthmother and I'm so incredibly thankful to have her and her family in our lives. While Aydin doesn't understand now, I know their support and presence will be invaluable as he grows. It's interesting to see and hear people's reactions when we talk about his birth family and our connection to them. I'm thankful that my mother was able to meet Aydin's birth family during our stay in Missouri after his birth. She saw first hand what a wonderful connection we had and how natural the openness was. My mother-in-law is definitely much more guarded. While our entire family has been very supportive of adoption from the beginning, my mother-in-law definitely seems worried every time I mention keeping in contact or sending photos/letters to Aydin's birth family. I take those moments as opportunities to educate and reassure her of how beneficial open adoption is and stress to her how much we adore and love Aydin's birth family. It's a work in progress and I'm hoping that if she gets a chance to meet their family herself she'll see first hand how natural it can be.

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Reading back through this thread, I realize I was at the same conference in Wisconsin as you Deb (at St. Norbert's in Green Bay!) where they talked about keeping the birth family's information private as it is the child's story to tell. I have read that and understand where this is coming from because I have too, as others have mentioned in this thread, seen a slippery slope of questions from family and friends arise when asking about the birth family. Mark and I have thankfully not had family opposition, but my question is in the age of Facebook, how do we grapple with this privacy issue? We are friends with our daughter's birth mom on Facebook (and birth father, and extended family). I am very thankful for our open relationship. I also realize that because our birth mom has no privacy settings and posts at least 5 times each day, I don't know how anything will ever be private. My friends and family can go onto her page and learn anything they ever wanted to know about her. And some have and come back to talk to me about what they have read or learned.

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Thank you so much Elly :) I just finished reading through that thread. Great information and still so much to think about . . .

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My mother has gone from being fearful and opposed to open adoption to: "Have you seen R today? How is R doing? Can I bring gifts for R's kids? What would they like?" It moves me to see how far she has come in just a few short months.

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We don't foresee any family opposition to us adopting, especially since there are adopted members in our family. Close family and friends are incredibly supportive.

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I am glad you have a supportive family- that means so much!! I think our families were uneducated about the adoption process and didn't want to see us hurt, which made them look unsupportive when we started our adoptive journey. But after almost 12 years, three daughters and a son they have came a long way!

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